Romeo and Juliet
by William Shakespeare
Directed by Lesley Schisgall Currier

• Cast and Production Staff
• Producer’s Perspective
• From the Playbill
• What the Critics Said
• Production Photos

Cast & Production Staff

The Cast

The Capulets
Lord Capulet – Robert Currier
Lady Capulet – Marcia Pizzo*
Juliet – Luisa Frasconi
Tybalt – Teddy Spencer*
Nurse – Debi Durst
Peter – Adam Roy
Gregory – Jai Sahai
Old Capulet – Steven Price
Tybalt’s Page – Derek Apperson
Rosaline – Lucy Black
Party Guests – Rachel Newman, Emily Steck

The Montagues
Lord Montague – Steven Price
Lady Montague – Catherine Ostler Beardon
Romeo – Jake Murphy
Benvolio – Sam Mickel
Mercutio – Jackson Currier
Balthasar – Javier Pritchard
Abraham – Gray Schierholt
Benvolio’s Page – Aaron Vanderbeek

Neutral Parties
The Prince – Scott Coopwood*
Paris – Gregory Lucas
Pari’s Page – Max Seijas
Friar Lawrence – Julian Lopez-Morillas*
Friar John – Steven Price
Apothecary – Jai Sahai
Watchmen – Derek Apperson, Gray Schierholt

Production Team

Director/Producer – Lesley Schisgall Currier
Costume Design – Abra Berman
Dramaturg Interns – Karina Gomez and Panyiota Kuvetakis, supervised by Phillippa Kelly
Fight Director – Rick Pallaziol
Gadfly – Barry Kraft
Lighting Design – Will Gering
Properties – Joel Eis
Set Design – Jackson Currier
Sound Design – Billie Cox
Stage Manager – Josh Garcia-Cotter*
Assistant Stage Manager – Ali Evans

* Member of Actor’s Equity Association

Producer’s Perspective

This black-and-white with bits of red production highlighted the duality of a world where young people are told things are right are wrong, friend or foe, only to discover that the world is truly made up of oxymorons, which can be very challenging to understand.

Young lovers Jake Murphy and Luisa Frasconi brought a freshness to the roles of Romeo and Juliet.  Jackson Currier as Mercutio was a tour de force.  Sam Mickel was a perfectly sweet and confused Benvolio.  And Teddy Spencer, in his white thigh high leather boots, embodied the King of Cats with powerful grace.

The adults in this world were beautifully brought to life by Robert Currier as a jovial Lord Capulet, Marcia Pizzo as an edgy boozing Lady Capulet, Julian Lopez-Morillas as a kindly Friar Lawrence and the wonderful Debi Durst as the Nurse, a role she was born to play.

Richard Pallaziol’s fights were rightfully nominated for one of the first ever Bay Area Theatre Awards, a program that began this year under the stewardship of the energetic Robert Sokol.  From the opening comic melee started by Adam Roy, Jai Sahai, Javier Pritchard and Gray Schierholt; to the thrillingly athletic duels of Mercutio, Tybalt and Romeo; to the brutal slaying of Skylar Collins’ Paris, the fights were richly detailed and beautifully performed with skill and passion.

Offstage, there was also some passionate romance in the air.  Shortly after the play closed, Luisa Frasconi and Jackson Currier revealed that they were soon going to be parents to the newest Marin Shakespeare addition,  Lenox Rose Frasconi Currier.  Congratulations!

— Lesley Schisgall Currier (aka happy grandma!)

From the Playbill

Passion: a strong and sometimes barely controllable emotion. Passion is something we often want in our lives, miss when we don’t have it, find in our favorite pastimes, and share with those who are most dear to us. Yet the word “passion” comes from the Latin for “suffering.” I have often weighed which is better: a black-and-white life on an even keel, controlled, manageable, safe, or a colorful life full of soaring highs and the danger of plunging lows. Many of the youth in Romeo and Juliet live their short lives in extremes of passion, while around them their parents and guardians often yearn for a calmer world, even when their own passions have helped create a world of extremes.

Some of the characters’ passions in this play are loving, fighting, and nurturing grudges, and all these passions lead to suffering. Yet, is it worth it? Is the thrill of Romeo and Juliet’s instantaneous, illicit, imaginative love – a passion consummated through poetry, one night of sex, and ultimate sacrifice – worth the suffering it brings? Is the excitement of besting your adversary with mockery and steel worth the mortal danger? Is the satisfaction of nurturing vengeance worth the damage? Does following our passion make us “fortune’s fool”s or shooting stars that “make the face of heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night?”

The passions in Romeo and Juliet are timeless, and real-life versions of Shakespeare’s classic story continue to be heard: A Saudi girl named Huda and a Yemeni boy named Arafat whose parents thwarted their marriage made the news a few years ago when each was arrested for illegally crossing international borders to try to get to each other. Last year a 13-year old Michigan girl and her 14-year old boyfriend sparked a national search when they disappeared after their parents disapproved of their love. Somalians Elmi Bondheri and Hodhan Abdi fell in love at first sight and died of broken hearts when their families forbade them to wed. Romeo and Juliet will be immediate and contemporary as long as love continues to bloom in a dangerous world. If you grieve for the characters in the play, remember that passion and suffering are inextricably bound, and enjoy the
“heavy lightness” and “sweet sorrow” of the extremity of love.

What the Critics Said

“…it is a pleasure to watch.”
– Marcia Solomon, Words on Theatre

“It’s an all-around splendid performance.”
– Cari Lynn Pace, Best of Bay Area

“Luisa Frasconi’s Juliet is an impetuous, free- spirited 16; Jake Murphy’s Romeo is just one of the neighborhood gang. As soon as they meet, both are giddy with the passionate, blinding love that only their worldly innocence can engender. Excessive it may be, and irrational, but very real. Other standouts in the large ensemble include Sam Mickel, who turns in a solid performance as Benvolio, Romeo’s close friend, as does Teddy Spencer as Tybalt, whose death at Romeo’s hand sends what began as a charming love story spinning into tragedy. Debi Durst is Juliet’s gruff, well-intentioned, though somewhat ineffectual nurse. Though a little rough around the edges as Mercutio, Jackson Currier, elder son of MSC’s founding couple, makes up for it with an explosion of fiery energy. Finally, special recognition is due to Julian Lopez-Morillas, whose native talent and lengthy experience with the Shakespeare canon are clearly visible in the role of Friar
Lawrence, the lovers’ counselor and would-be protector.”
– Charles Brousse, Pacific Sun

“Costume Designer Abra Berman and Set Designer Jackson Currier have created a stark palette of white
and black, reminiscent of a chessboard, with silver greys gradiating in between, a visual depiction of the play’s themes. I have seen all sorts of color schemes used in conjunction with Romeo & Juliet before, but none struck me with such force as this one in its powerful simplicity.”
– Alexa Chipman, Theatre Blogger

Production Photos

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